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The Boy Who Invented TV: The Story of Philo Farnsworth Hardcover – September 8, 2009
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From School Library Journal
"One to inspire young audiences with the vast possibilities that imagination and diligence can accomplish."
The New York Times Book Review, December 20, 2009:
"Beautiful and beautifully told, the book tracks like the sort of graphic novel that breaks your heart, with its implied passage of time and slipping awawy of early dreams."
Top Customer Reviews
This inspiring picture book biography recounts the true life story of Philo Taylor Farnsworth, who was just a 14-year-old farmboy in 1920 when he had a brainstorm. Seeing the plow create rows of overturned earth, Philo found a way to create television by "breaking down images into parallel lines of light, capturing them and transmitting them as electrons, then reassembling them for a viewer." His school teacher, Mr. Tolman encouraged him to go to college where he thought Philo's genius would be given the recognition it deserved. Unfortunately, events would conspire against Philo. He was forced to leave college after his father's death and became his family's main breadwinner.
It was only eight years after his brilliant idea first came to Philo's mind that he was able to realize his dream of transmitting the world's first television image. The book ends at this point though the author's note at the back of the book mentions how Philo triumphed in his bid to invent TV but would not get credit for it during his lifetime. Philo was embroiled in a dispute with the Radio Corporation of America (RCA) and never did get actual credit for inventing the television, especially since his patents expired and his ideas became public domain. It is an inspiring tale that will serve to fire young people's imaginations and motivate them to invent. Philo Farnsworth has finally received the acknowledgment and recognition denied to him all those years ago.
He enjoyed reading his grandmother’s Sears, Roebuck catalog and marveling over “cameras, alarm clocks, and machines that used a new, invisible source of power” called electricity. The most he got out of the catalog was a violin at the insistence of his grandmother, which tended to give more fodder for the bullies. There was something about this electricity business and the elusive “television” scientists were working on. Philo’s mind never seemed to stop thinking about it. Wait . . . there was something about the plowed “rows of dirt” that turned a switch on in his fourteen-year-old mind. Was this the solution the scientists had been looking for to make pictures “fly through the air?”
This was a fascinating story of a young man who was nudged out and almost forgotten even though he invented “one of the greatest inventions of the twentieth century.” I loved the way the story was told because it gave great insight into Philo’s character and why he was not credited with his invention. The artwork was very “period” looking and quite appealing. The end papers are filled with a large variety of television sets that span the ages. This book is a Junior Library Guild Selection that both old and young alike will enjoy!